INTERVIEW
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INTERVIEW WITH A STONER.....

This interview is from Hot Metal magazine, issued in 1995 just after the release of And The Circus Leaves Town..., it is an interview with Josh Homme by Steffan Chirazi.
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In the over zealous world of the music business, many younger horses get led to water and made to drink well past saturation.Not Kyuss Steffan Chirazi Gladly reports.
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"We just stay in our space doing our own thing and when the record company tells us it's time to start working on a new album, we have enough jammed so we can just go in and make one. They don't come in here and they don't say things about what we do" sighs guitarist Josh Homme good-naturedly.
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Indeed, as we come to learn, the latest Kyuss full-length offering, And the Circus Leaves Town - their fourth in four years - is their most suit free, shiny arseless album yet.
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At over 6'2", Homme is an imposing prescence for all of two seconds, until his overwhelmingly friendly persona bleeds all over you. Josh Homme is the quintessential nice guy, good dude, cool human being. He is also a thinker, It's quickly apparrent 'dat little ol' brain tends to tick over far more than he'd like it to - but there is no avoiding it. So you get the impression when talking to Homme about Kyuss, their music and its place in the music business, that he is still wriggling painfully to adapt to the oft-ridiculous nature of an industry that loves to take things like free-form crazy desert jamming and put into neat little shoebox categories.
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"I get reluctant to answer all those questions like 'What does this song mean?', because to me it means one thing but to you, and you it could mean something totally different. Which would mean it's achieved its goal, to mean as many things to as many people as possible."
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Indeed, even talking about Kyuss' music can get awkward for him. But it's hard to resist asking him if the new album title, And the Circus Leaves Town, is a reaction to escaping the big bullshit scene of L.A.?
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"It means many things, and that's perhaps the least of them. In many ways things have increased for us but we've been able to leave town and shed the shit. It's more about where we are headed, what we're trying to put together ourselves, in terms of what the band is and what we're meant to be. Europe's been great because we have been able to develop a style of touring for ourselves, where we've really started almost enjoying touring, where you almost make it like a little travelling carnival. We try to bring that same sort of thing to someone's head, the rock 'n' roll version of 'come in and make everyone forget' and leave town. I like the connections of mystery with the circus, that whole idea."
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Australia and Europe embrace Kyuss with open arms while the good old U.S of A doesn't quite seem to get it.
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"Yeah, well I think people in America almost need to be 'sold', and then 10 things instead of one. I don't know and I almost don't care, wherever it's going to be cool for us, that's where we're going to go."
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Sell, sell, sell, and I can imagine at times the pressures from label lobbyists on Kyuss to do some inconceivably stupid 'PR' stunt amongst other 'trade' things is immense. But just like 'The Family' who also lived in a SoCal desert location, Kyuss do not split up, [a little inaccurate in hind sight don't we think kiddies] they bundle up.
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"We stick together more than ever now, we communicate a lot more and the four of us try and put that stuff aside, just take care of what needs to be taken care of and learn that this is just all a part of it. The perspective change is kind of like this: you don't have to say you love it, but you do have to do it. The quicker you can take care of it and cut other stuff off at the path you actually see there is so much you can do."
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The band who presented themselves to the world with a D.I.Y. attitude hasn't shot it an ounce.
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"Instead of having to do so many stupid photo shoots, we went and took our own pictures. There's so much you can do in eliminating aggrivation from your lives and distancing yourselves from it. So we're actually more 'do-it-yourself' than ever before. One thing that I'm happy about is that through our relationship with Chameleon and Elektra we can turn around and say 'OK then, what do we need to get done?' They say 'We need a record' and so BOOM, we go in, do one and send it to them with the cover already done. We do our own T-Shirts, we're directing our own videos and all with our own cash. We save money and then buy a good mike here or a good piece of equipment there to the point where we're an island unto ourselves."
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I remember once-upon-a-time only having heard about Palm springs in conjunction with old wrinkles looking to sit out their sunny days in peace.
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"This is the type of place you move to only when you're ready. You cannot just move from a big city and immeadiately expect to like this place," Homme explains. "You've gotta know what it is, what you're getting in to, to pull it off, or you'll arrive, take one look around and be off very quickly."
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How is the Kyuss relationship with the desert going? And how far is it taking them artistically?
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"A lot further than we would have ever gone by ourselves that's for sure. We realised early on that it's not so much 'we are the desert' or some corny shit like that, it's more a case of we were dealt the desert because of where we grew up. We were dealt some beautiful scenery, some of the best places to try and cultivate ideas, it's so easy to access. We can go into the desert and take pictures of something amazing, alone, and it's free, it's just right there."
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How much of the desert's 'energy' have you burnt? How much of it is endless?
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"I think it's endless. I still go to the same places all the time and I'm continually blown away every time, it never ceases to make you feel small, make you feel in awe of things, things that aren't something that we've all done as a group of people."
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It seems that the best studio Kyuss could find is one of those enormous sand dunes in the middle of nowhere, with sky and sand all around, nothing but the air and a mobile studio for company. Tried it yet?
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"We've talked about it. That's definately the next move..., we actually know the canyon we're going to. The heavies thing we've done are those 'B' sides we just recorded in Joshua Tree, they're the most cut-loose-here-we-go rawest form of what we're doing. We're not bummed because at first we had this idea that we're waisting all this stuff on 'B' sides, but then we realised it was positive in as much as 'fuck it, carry on, who cares if that well's dry we can find another', that line of thinking, y'know. We just had a really big perspective change in Joshua Tree studios where we don't necessarily feel invincible but we know the only people that can throw us off track is us."
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Which would suggest that there have been times when Kyuss didn't always feel confident.
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"We never felt in control of everything. It's such a circus man, ha, ha, ha, there's so much to it, you're constantly having to learn from your mistakes. Now we've become more self-sufficient. If we're gonna be a band then we want to present what our band is and we're able to do that now more than ever before. We finally don't feel like we're anybody else's experiment. We're doing the experimenting! So it's been good to wait for things, like waiting to do the desert recording, because it'd just be us and no-one else interfering."
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In the grand scheme of Kyuss' affairs, where has this record left you standing?
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"This new record was the toughest. In a way we were going for a combination of our first two records, and we look at this like a project. We wanted to see if we could consistently, without changing too much, change all the time. It was obvious what we had to do, doing it is not easy all the time but we learnt an awful lot about ourselves with this record."
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Such as?
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"Aw maaan," he sighs, politely tortured and enraged, "I don't even know if I want to get into this. We learned how this band needs to record for the rest of it's time. We found the Joshua Tree studio to have the greatest vibe, we learned how the band should record to keep it's 'candy covered shell' for itself..., to list them all would to kill some of them and disrupt the others."
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For those who don't know about the fifth Kyuss member, it's producer Chris Goss, the supremely serene, genial guide to every one of Kyuss' recorded voyages [except Sons.. and Wretch].
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"Chris..., is the man. I love working with Chris, he's the shit. Christopher, living and being down here has made it like we all feel, when we go in, that it's alright. That recording's going to be the one place where everything will be OK, and that makes you wanna be there, it makes you feel that you will be able to pull off anything that you wanna try in the studio."
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The abrupt departure of Brant Bjork, the enigmatic Bill Ward-type madman who was on the Kyuan stool for those first three albums, was a turning point like you wouldn't believe.
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"I was very grateful to do those Metallica shows in Australia, but it was the most confusing thing we've ever done. It was such a strange situation, it was Brant's last tour and we all pretty much new it. We tried to grit our teeth, grin, enjoy it and we did have a good time. But it was almost in reverse of what we were trying to do. Us trying to pull Brant back in, Australia just rattling in our heads, playing with Metallica in front of 15,000 people. I mean, that many people is not really where we wanted to go with our music just because it seemed so much less effective. And even playing with Metallica..., mind blowing, like playing with the President. So the whole thing for us was insane. And during... right after the tour finished Brant left.
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"That was like the diving board that put us together. You think you're the only one going 'what's going on, what are we doing, what are we thinking, what are we expecting?' And he pulled a lot of the guilt off us. It was like the perfect move. In doing that and in finding Alfredo, someone who plays like he does, who we've all known for a long time, who Scotty [Reeder] played with, and after looking so hard before him, trying to find a drummer and thinking 'Fuck it, no band is worth this shit'. And this was after giving up and getting a call from Alfredo saying, 'hey guys, do you wanna play?'. He's changed the way we play."
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In what sense?
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"'Fredo's a tight drummer. He can hold it all in and let it all go when it all needs to be let go, he's the only one who played where Brant played because Brant was the king of drumming to me."
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Kyuss. The island. The heaviness that continues to be. But to Josh Homme, are they peerless? Does it seem like they are on their own island with no other neighbours who understand them?
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"Sometines, I feel like some of the stuff we are doing is pretty hard. Finding the right tour, because pretty soon you will run out of Faith No More's or other bands where you just think 'Wow we should play with them, it'd be a great show!'. But I'd rather have it that way..."
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Like David Carradine, like The Man With No Name, like Harry Dean Stanton in Paris Texas, Kyuss continue to walk into the horizon absorbing all the powers and energies that most of us simply cannot find alone...

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